S&S Review: Bloodborne

Title: Bloodborne
Format: PS4
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: From Software
Price: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M

From Software's first venture onto the PS4 has proven to be a great one, as they continue their trend of blending flawless gameplay and an engrossing atmosphere for you to explore through.
Story and Presentation:
Story has never been a big part of the Souls game's, but Bloodborne takes a different approach to storytelling.  You enter the world of Bloodborne as a random hunter, who gets thrusted into Yharnam, a decaying city that is rife with disease and plague.  Bloodborne may play similarly to Dark Souls, but the game manages to seperate itself from it's predecessors with a new and more infectious setting.       Your character seeks a transfusion of beast blood to reinforce the abilities of being a hunter. Ironically, though, the hunters and clerics of the Healing Church have seemingly become the very scourge they were meant to vanquish, and the mobs of townsfolk blame you and your kin for the descent of Yharnam into madness and savagery. Every key item you pick up has a description that will help you piece together of what really happened over the years to this place.  Visually, the game looks stunning.  The Souls games never looked great, in fact, they often looked a bit dated on the PS3 and Xbox 360.  This isn't the case with Bloodborne.  The animations, environments, character and enemy designs are all top notch.  The enemy designs are the highlight, with some truly hauntingly beautiful monsters, you're always going to be surprised at what will come at you next.  Bloodborne certainly seems to have delivered on their promise of making the most of the PlayStation 4’s potential.  There are some technical issues, unfortunately, but they aren't too severe.  The framerate will occasionally drop when you enter into a new area filled with new enemies, especially when you play online with two other players.  The loading screens are a bit too lengthy for my taste, but once you're in a map, the game doesn't load at all.
Core Gameplay and Multiplayer:
Bloodborne was not only carefully built upon the foundations of everything From Software did right in the past, but it reinvigorates the core gameplay by putting more emphasis on the offensive.  Players used to the Souls series will feel comfortable right away; controls, items, leveling up, and stats, among other features, feel extremely familiar. Like I said above though, the game quickly encourages you to go on the offensive. Dark Souls and DS2 were mostly defensive games, with the inclusion of shields, most players would sit back and with their shield and wait for an opening. In Bloodborne, the developers wants players to constantly stay in the thick of the action, and only hanging back when they have to.  Whenever you get hit, you have a small window of opportunity to regain most of the health you lost by dealing damage.  It's a great new mechanic that keeps the action flowing and fast paced.   This focus on swiftness and agility is further buoyed by an exceptionally versatile capability to perform lightning-fast evasive maneuvers. In a very unique fashion, Bloodborne’s dodging is a lot more graceful than in From Software's previous ventures. Thanks to the extremely fluid animations, dodging and attacking has never felt better.  Another new feature that has been added is the second function for your primary weapon.  You no longer simply have a sword or an axe, instead you have a multi-function tool that can have two seperate functions.  One moment you can have a simple long sword, but with a press of a button, that sword will transform into a great sword that has a lot more range and hitting power.  Concerning level designs, Bloodborne's diverse levels shine bright amongst the darkness you'll be traversing through. Yharnam is nothing less than rich in details, ranging from different levels and narrow streets to high spots with stunning views. Different parts of the world are linked together by shortcuts and secret passages, which work efficiently together with the fast-travel lamps.  All of these systems blend together perfectly, making this one of the most satisfying games to play ever.
Final Thoughts:
There is no real way to stress how good Bloodborne actually is. The sum of its systems produces a complex yet accessible gameplay experience that is amazing for both newcomers and veterans of these kinds of games.  Bloodborne easily stands atop as the PS4's best exclusive, not only that, it's an early candidate for Game of the Year.  
+Fantastic, Fast Paced Gameplay
+Stunning Setting
+Incredible Soundtrack
+Intriguing Story
-Minor technical issues
S&S Rating: 9.5/10


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